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Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010

READERS IN COUNCIL

Generalization about Americans


By LAWRENCE COOPER
Fukuoka

Regarding Roger Pulvers' Jan. 24 Counterpoint article, "For all his failings, MacArthur was a fine precursor of Obama's bow": Pulvers' comparison of the photo of the Emperor Showa and American Gen. Douglas MacArthur with that of President Barack Obama and the Emperor Akihito in November is interesting because it shows how much the balance has shifted in Japanese American relations since 1945.

However, the photo of MacArthur with the Emperor Showa merits greater explanation. This photo was taken Sept. 27, 1945, when the Emperor Showa called on MacArthur at his personal residence in Tokyo. MacArthur's casual clothes and pose in this photo were intentional as he wanted to visually demonstrate that the authority of the Emperor was subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Japan.

Unfortunately, Pulvers uses these photos to make gross generalizations about "blinkered" Americans. To suggest that, except for Obama, no American leader has been willing to show respect for another culture on its homeground indicates that Pulvers himself is perhaps more blinkered than he realizes.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.


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